At just 280g for a size large this has to be one of the lightest Primaloft-based insulating garments on the market - if not the lightest. Designed to provide warmth without the weight to those undertaking pursuits that demand ‘ultra fast and light', the Rotor is a revelation to handle and wear.
That it provoked an instant and audible gasp from everyone who picked it up in the pF office should give some idea as to its phenomenal low weight, especially considering the amount of lightweight kit we've had the privilege of testing.
The product arm of the Original Mountain Marathon came about off the back of the legendary Karrimor, a company credited with developing some of the most groundbreaking ideas and technologies of their day. In their relatively short life as a stand-alone manufacturer OMM have come up with a range of products designed specifically to aid adventure racers achieve faster times in (relative) comfort. OMM have achieved this by not only stripping down weights through the use of modern materials but by approaching the design process with a little cunning.
The Rotor Smock's shiny, bin liner-esque Pertex Quantum finish may not be to everyone's liking, but functionally it can barely be faulted - though some manly testing by pF Editor, Dave ‘fists of ham' MacFarlane, revealed that Pertex Quantum doesn't respond so well to having the serrated edge of a key dragged across it! I would argue - strongly - that such a material is designed with a specific purpose in mind, and one which does not involve subjecting the material to stresses outside of its remit [like griststone climbing. Ed]. To that end I wouldn't recommend using the Rotor with anything other than a lightweight pack, such as those produced by OMM themselves.
The author testing the OMM Rotor Smock at the gritstone climbing haven of Stanage.
As a choice of material, however, Pertex Quantum appears to be the right one. It provided ample wind and water resistance on several occasions when a hard shell would have been unnecessary (or got left at home) and for the weight is a total no-brainer. In last year's review of the Marmot Stretchman jacket I referred to the ability to pack such a lightweight garment into a day pack regardless of whether it was needed or not, simply because it would seem foolish not to. The Rotor fits right alongside that idea even more so given its versatility as a mid layer or insulating windproof shell.
Incorporating many of the technical features you'd expect to find on jackets two or three times its weight the Rotor packs a lot in for its weight. OMM claim that to aid in venting, the ‘sleeves can be pushed up past the elbow' and the ‘extra long front zip opened for maximum ventilation'. While the latter is certainly true I had problems getting the cuffs past even my meager forearms, even on the size large. The hook and loop closures on the cuffs are certainly very neat whilst the vibrant orange YKK zippers work as smoothly as you'd expect them to given their strong reputation. Drawcords situated at the hem and neck can be operated single-handedly to trap warm air inside the Rotor, making the best of its top-of-the-range Primaloft One insulating technology (according to OMM), thus creating two layers of encapsulated air - one between the Pertex Quantum inner and the body and another within the Primaloft between the jacket's two Pertex layers.
The fleece-backed two-hand pocket situated right across the front of the smock provided great respite for my spindly, cold fingers on many occasions, as well as providing a place to stash a few vitals - saving the need to carry a bag on a few trips.
As mountain athletes and enthusiasts push the boundaries of their sports and develop increasingly more specific variations of a discipline, it's up to manufacturers to be able to cater for those needs by supplying ever more niche garments designed purely to handle the conditions experienced. Whilst the Rotor is certainly a garment more suited to the ‘less is more' fraternity, I would certainly recommend anyone trying it out for its versatility in many other fields. Just don't go getting your keys caught on it.
Overall Garment weight approx 240g (m)
|OMM Rotor Smock|
|At just 280g (size L) the OMM ..|
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